Gambling means different things to different people. Some people get complete satisfaction when they win a few bucks in sports bets, others fell contented when they spend a few hours playing card games with friends, while some will just have fun at an online casino for a few hours and focus on other things.
For some, however, gambling is a problem. It leads to addiction, which ultimately results in personal and financial ruin.
According to a report by the National Council of Problem Gambling, 1% of the adult population (about 2 million people) in the United States are pathological gamblers, which simply means they are addicted to this vice.
Now that you are a gambling enthusiast and you regularly make a kill out of it, how do you know that you have a gambling problem? Below are some signs you should look out for:
- You gamble with money you can’t afford to lose
When starting out, you had a ‘fun’ budget that you had set aside for gambling and doing other fun stuff. However, you have recently discovered that you can use money budgeted for school fees, house rent, savings, and utility bills to stake in your favourite jackpot game. To add salt to injury, you have drained your savings and even squandered money borrowed from friends.
Well, if this is your current state, then you are a gambling addict who needs help as soon as possible.
- You cannot stop
If you gamble for fun, you know when to stop and focus on other things. Nonetheless, if you struggle with both the time and the money you are spending, then you are a compulsive gambler.
You have tried everything you can to stop, but sports betting has taken over your life. You try spending time with your friends or engaging in other fun activities, but even then, you keep placing bets with your mobile device. This is one of the biggest signs of addiction you need to watch out for.
- You often want to recover losses by gambling even more
You place a bet, and you fail to win. Instead of quitting and focusing on other things that can generate income, you place bets repeatedly in a bid to recover the money you lost. In your mind, you believe that the best way to solve financial loses is by betting more. If this is the case, you are a problem gambler!
- You can do anything to get money for gambling
In case you have found out that you can’t stop gambling even when your bank accounts have gone dry, then you are turning out to be a pathological gambler.
People who are addicted to gambling can go to extremes to find the money for gambling. If borrowing from friends doesn’t work, they resort to a host of crimes, including theft and forgery.
- You put gambling before everything else
If your gambling habits have taken over other vital parts of your life, this is a red flag that you are turning out to be a problem gambler. You have gone to the extent of skipping some meals, going to work, or even attending a parents’ meeting at your kid’s school so that you can hit a casino.
Doing this can go a long mile in damaging your career and putting your relationships at stake.
How to tackle gambling addiction
There are a few things you can do as a gambling addict and resume a normal life. They include;
- Admit you have a problem- just like any other addiction, one of the first steps towards fighting gambling addiction is to accept that you have a problem. If you are constantly in denial, then no treatment will work for you. If you admit, it means that you are ready to take any action to stop and enjoy a good life.
- Get help- you can talk to friends or family members about your problem, and they could offer you with the psychological help you need to recover. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to people you know, you can turn to organisations such as Gamcare and Gamblers Anonymous for professional help. Also, you can turn to psychotherapy or medication, which may help minimize the temptation to wager.
- Replace gambling with something else more positive– you can fight with gambling by replacing it with something else. Find a hobby or an activity that will take the place of gambling. For example, if you used to spend the whole day at the casino, why don’t you spend the day with friends fly fishing?
Gambling could be a meagre $2 lottery ticket or a $500,000 stock market bet. If you are an occasional wager, that likes to bet on sports or on horse racing odds in Twinspires, for example, then you have no problem with betting at all. However, if gambling starts affecting your life negatively, then you need to fight the issue before it becomes a crisis.
With the information provided above, you now know your place in the gambling arena, and the good news is, there are some tips at your disposal that will help you resume normality in your life.